Entrepreneurship Awards

By Lynda Millner   |   June 6, 2019
WEV Incoming CEO elect Kathy Odell, rock star Carol Duncan, and current CEO Marsha Bailey

Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV) presented their Spirit of Entrepreneurship (SOE) awards at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort celebrating women entrepreneurs and supporting student entrepreneurship as well.

During the cocktail hour held in the rotunda we got a chance to meet the high school and college winners of the New Venture Challenge given by Scheinfeld Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at SBCC with Julie Samson as director. These are young people who have a business idea and have begun to develop it. They competed for $15,000 in prizes, which comes from SOE funds.

As dinner was served, the program began with a welcome by Kathy Odell, who is CEO elect of WEV. Then Ambia Clark, VP/Senior Commercial Banking Officer of Montecito Bank & Trust, presented the Rock Star: Life Achievement Award to Carol Duncan. You all probably know her because she started Rusty’s Pizza 50 years ago. It first began in 1969 and now has 17 locations both here and in Bakersfield and employs over 500 folks. She was responsible for the Keeper’s Lighthouse on Cabrillo Boulevard. Carol loves the zoo and supports Duncan the Dinosaur and the trains.

WEV SOE committee Darya Bronston, Deborah Naish, and Kristin Fraser

Honors were given to Cathy Feldman who founded SOE. She passed away this year, but you can be sure her legacy will continue. State senator Hanna Beth Jackson read a proclamation in Cathy’s honor. Recently SOE and WEV integrated into one. 

“WEV has been helping women succeed for almost 30 years. They have provided business training and consulting to over 14,000 women and men and made more than $5 million in loans assisting over 4,000 local business,” according to Marsha Bailey who is founder and CEO of WEV.

The Successful Women Giving Back Award went to Caleigh Hernandez. She received a $10,000 grant to help grow her business RoHo. She was selected by members of WEV’s League of Extraordinary Women.

The SOE awards have nominations coming from Santa Barbara and Ventura into ten business specific categories with three nominees up for each. The judges were business executives and live outside of the tri-counties. Their applications and websites matter. The winners were: Arts & Entertainment Laurie Gross, Green & Social Entrepreneur Emily Barany, Health & Wellness Carmen Curtis, Hospitality & Tourism Leanne Schlinger, Media & Communications Jamie Edlin, Nonprofit Jen Baron, Professional Services Sara Caputo, Retail Claudia Cordova Papa, Science & Technology Shawn Sullivan and Wholesale, Manufacturing & Online Retail Andria Ridgell.

Congratulations to all those innovative women! You can learn more at www.wevonline.org or call 805.667.8004.


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